Hi all. I've been a HUGE user of MobyGames for many years now, but only just now created an account. I run a few gaming websites of my own, and the database here is invaluable to me.
I can't help but notice a huge difference between the amount of reviews and ratings on older games and modern ones. Can anyone shed any light on the reasons behind this? I realise I might be opening a can of worms with this questions, but I'm always disappointed that there is no single place on the Internet with accurate, comparable rating charts that span the history of computer games. MobyGames is unquestionably the best place to go for any games from the 70s through to around 2010, but after that it's frankly not really a tool that can be used to uncover hidden gems. There has been a very obvious drop in contributions. The easiest way to show this drop is by looking at some of the biggest Windows franchises.
Mass Effect 1 has 130 ratings, Mass Effect 2 has 99 ratings, Mass Effect 3 has 44 ratings.
Morrowind has 213 ratings, Oblivion has 158 ratings, Skyrim has 73 ratings.
GTA III has 199 ratings, GTA IV has 82 ratings, GTA V has 7 ratings.
So...why has this happened? Is it due to the community hopping up and going elsewhere? Is it due to some particular change in the site that put longtime contributors off? Is it for some other reason that I can't even fathom?
Not only are contributors interested in numerous other games (primarily old ones), the games are also fairly new. The ratings for Morrowind, GTA III and the like were made by people over the course of several years.
Subjectively, I don't think many new games give the same feel the old ones did, hence people may not quite be interested to give much attention to them.
There needs to be a big, prominent star you can click and then choose a rating from 0.5 to 5 out a maximum of five. A single rating for the entire game. Until then, I assume almost everyone finds it too much work to think about the different categories or misses the tiny link where you go to the rating page. The internet shows everyone is dying to give their opinion, a lack of interest is certainly not an issue.
Recently, some games got a better or worse average than I'd normally give when I (re-)rated them. However, I'm not sure that rating the games' individual aspects should be discarded in the MobyRank system.
Definitely not. Those who just want to give a single overall rating have the personal slant score for that, which I guess may be put separately to make it clear such a single rating is allowed. But category ratings have to stay, and not be hidden away either.
I think most regular users of the site aren't that interested in modern games, and there are lots of other sites which cover 'the latest and greatest' games that probably have more exciting user interfaces. There's also the good point that earlier Mass Effect game ratings have had a lot longer to build out, yes :)
In general, MobyGames has a bit of a weakness for newer games beyond major releases, not just newer game ratings - but it's impossible to be 'all things to all people', and we are still getting plenty of contributions. I think that's just fine right now, though we're working on ways it'll be easier to contribute new games by using 'helpers' so you don't have to retype things from scratch, etc.
I do think the non-instant nature of how you contribute to Moby puts off new users, though - in other sites like Wikipedia and GiantBomb, you can edit pages and they immediately update, which is much more '2000s' or '2010s' - vs. waiting a long time for an approval or discussing any issues directly with an approver.
But I'm OK with that because we do get more accurate data and screen out bad edits or incorrect screenshots, etc. It's just a much stricter approach to building a DB and if I was coming to contributing to a database fresh, I might choose one of them where I can make a visible difference swiftly. Thanks to the new/dedicated folks who are sticking by it, though!
(Obviously you can instantly contribute ratings, but it's one of the few things that is true for, so I'm presuming people don't join sites JUST to contribute ratings.)
I have to admit the lag in the approval status can be annoying at times (some of my submissions have taken almost 2 weeks to even get a reply about any errors, but I'm sure there are longer timelines out there). But I can understand as all the approvers do this on their own time when they can. Overall though, it's a great experience. The quality of the submissions is so much better that way, though I can see why it would be a drawback, especially for the younger generation which is so go, go, go.
But alas, I'm not much of a rater, so that sort of contribution will be lacking for me.
ME1, submitted on May 29, 2008, 2927 days ago, 130 ratings, 1 / 22.5 days. ME2, submitted on Jan 21, 2010, 2325 days ago, 99 ratings, 1 / 23.5 days. ME3, submitted on Mar 08, 2012, 1548 days ago, 44 ratings, 1 / 35.2 days.
Granted, quite a difference for that last one, but time does explain much of it.
"So...why has this happened? Is it due to the community hopping up and going elsewhere?"
That's definitely a major part of it.
I've been a Mobygames user since 2001, and I don't connect modern games with the site in my mind. There are slick modern sites for that, Steam included.
Mobygames is more like a museum, always quiet and scarcely populated. And a very good museum at that.